There haven’t been many Falcons elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the sport’s highest honor. Claude Humphrey is the name that comes to most minds because he is the longest-tenured Falcons player to be enshrined in Canton. Deion Sanders, Tony Gonzalez, Morten Anderson, and Bobby Beathard all spent time in Atlanta but had more contributions with other organizations.
Well, that could change soon. On Thursday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced a list of senior and coach/contributor semifinalists for the class of 2022, which includes a number of former Falcons — Mike Kenn, Tommy Nobis, Clay Matthews Jr., Billie Johnson, Chris Hinton, George Kunz, Dan Reeves, and Rich McKay.
Kenn was the longtime tackle of the Falcons, starting 17 straight seasons for the team. Nobis, who has been dubbed Mr. Falcon, was the team’s first No. 1 overall pick and had a nasty reputation as a linebacker. Billie “White Shoes” Johnson popularized dancing in the endzone and was electric with the ball in his hands. Kunz spent time with the Colts and the Falcons but was a bulldozer of an offensive lineman; he famously was traded for a pick that became Steve Bartkowski.
Matthews ended his career in 1995 and was the oldest player to ever record a sack. Hinton was also another stud offensive lineman. Reeves is probably the most notable coach in team history, one of only two men to get the Falcons to a Super Bowl. McKay was a former GM and current team president (not a huge fan, so I’ll leave it at that).
The franchise has an excellent chance of seeing at least one of these individuals inducted into the Hall, but all are deserving of the honor.
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